Orsoq III, subarctic sushi!
In her performance “Orsoq III, subarctic sushi!”, Jessie Kleemann, dressed in a revealing black dress and barefooted, works with a signature material of her home island, Greenland. She approaches a pile of blubber, laid out on an otherwise empty, black stage, and proceeds to handle the gresy material, balancing it on her hands, taking it into her mouth, letting it slide down her cleavage, cutting it with a special knife, and moving it across the stage. After each action, she stares at the audience, makes faces, flashes fake smiles, like voicelessly asking provoking questions, about herself, her actions, her position as an indigenous woman in the art context, and frequently evokes uncomfortable laughter from the audience. The performance ends with Jessie wrapping herself in the large sheet of protective plastic that has covered and protected the stage during the performance, finally declaring herself as the product, the Subarctic Sushi.
About the Artist
Jessie Kleemann was born in Upernavik in northern Greenland and trained as a lithographic artist. From 1978 to 1979, she was a student at the Tuukkaq theatre in Fjaltring in northern Jutland, from 1984 to 1991 director of the school of arts in Nuuk, during which period she took leave in 1989 in connection with the staging of the play Asanninneq naliitsoq, based on Märta Tikkanen’s Århundradets kärlekssaga. Between 1991 and 1993, she was the coordinator of the exhibition project Arts from the Arctic as part of the UNESCO programme for the decade of indigenous people. She has participated in Nordic and international exhibitions and had many solo exhibitions. As a poet she represented Greenland at Nordic and international literary events. Her first independent poetry collection was Taallat. Digte. Poems, published in 1997.
She is known for her provocative performance art, in which she has developed a form of ‘body art’ based on ancient masque performances. Like the words and enactments in different performance videos, she uses the artist’s body as a living canvas, often incorporating it into her exhibitions.
Mor einfo can be found on Jessie’s website.